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We launched “The Clearing”… and it’s been emotional

 

A year ago we had an idea “let’s create an event that gets our network of amazing people to inspire both us and friends of the Agency”. It was an exciting thought and we wanted to make it happen in the best way possible, in the hope that it could be the first of many. We called it “The Clearing” and last week we nervously, but excitedly, hosted the inaugural event.
Reflecting on the day now, we couldn’t be more proud. We secured an awesome venue, Kensington Roof Gardens, and a line-up of the most brilliant speakers, all talking on the theme of “why emotion is one of the most fundamental drivers of brand and personal success”.

 

Unlike many marketing events, it wasn’t all about the brands, we wanted “The Clearing” to be personally, as well as professionally inspiring, so as well as speakers, we hosted a series of break out sessions (from Comedy Workshops to Sound Therapy and VR) which were purely intended to give our guests headspace.

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The talks covered many aspects of our broad topic and were arranged according to their emotional driver.

 

The day began with a PrettyGreen introduction – a brief summary of the emotional journey brands have been on in defining their relationship with consumers. We put forward the suggestion that the greatest value brands can now offer is the humble one of being a servant: from the helpful app, to the useful tips and the personal encouragement, right up to grander gestures where brands take on a consumer cause and graft on their behalf to bring it to life – brands are now finding their place and offering increasing ‘services’ to their audience.

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Our guest talks then kicked off the day proper on the topic of wellness. We had the inspiring Piers Bradford, Managing Director, Project Everyone (Richard Curtis Foundation) on the subject of “How do you get the world to change the world, in particular millennials”. He shared the vast range of initiatives Project Everyone have undertaken to bring the global goals of the United Nation to the world’s attention. He was followed by the very engaging Michael Townsend, Founder of the wonderfully simple Breathe Sync app. His topic brought our focus down to the personal “We’ve forgotten how to breathe and the impact that’s having on our lives”. Our Wellness sessions concluded with Kerry Collinge, the Director of Marketing at 9BAR, who opened her soul to talk about how being vulnerable is a great thing to embrace for both yourself and brands.

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Lunch was a vast, indulgent barbecue on the roof, where people could network, take part in break out sessions or just mingle with the flamingos.

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The afternoon began with a Tech and Content segment. We heard from the fascinating Laura Thomson, Founder of Phenomenal Training, who specialise in confidence building and techniques for calm and effective communication. She explained how we’re truly falling in love with artificial intelligence. A digital panel discussion then followed, featuring vlogger and DJ Roman Kemp, Phil Mitchelson, Marketing Director at Bigballs Films, and Copa90 – the world’s largest independent football fan network and talent agency Gleam.

 

The afternoon continued with contributions from Jane Cunningham, Co-Founder of Pretty Little Head, on how making emotional connections is the only way to unlock the female opportunity for marketers, and Ben Grace, MD of Bulldog Male Grooming, who explained how his brand overcame the challenge of getting men to love ethics and grooming.

 

Our final sections ended the day on an emotional high. We heard from Professor Greg Whyte, former Olympian and the person who trains, motivates and inspires celebrities for the Comic and Sport Relief challenges. His talk explained the journey anyone can take in order to “achieve the impossible”. Our final speaker was Rachel Swift, Head of Brand Marketing at John Lewis, who took us through the brand’s incredible journey to becoming creator of arguably today’s most emotive communications.

 

As we look back now we can definitely say “It’s been emotional”.

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